EMHH Episode 22: How to Move with Your Horse

Apr 07, 2022

Did you know that your horse is included in your brain’s “body map?” If horses are an important part of your life, your brain has most probably mapped your horse in your brain. You always knew your horse was in your heart. Now you know your equine is in your brain too! In this episode, you’ll learn how to use this knowledge to improve communication to and from your horse. Which translates to more effective, enjoyable riding, training, and handling. When you refine communication, you can create a more joyful, meaningful connection with your horse.

💥If you want my PERSONAL coaching so you can put this into practice to help your horse - and yourself - have more flexible, balanced, and confident movement, you're in luck! For a limited time, we're opening enrollment in our group coaching program, Move with Your Horse.🐴 💖 Get all the details: https://www.marydebono.com/MWYH-L1.

FREE resources:

Podcast show notes for this episode: https://www.marydebono.com/blog/H22


Hello, and welcome to easier movement, happier horses. So today we're going to talk about your horse is an extension of you and your, an extension of your horse. Have you ever thought about it like that? There's something that I talk about a lot. I call it the H squared system that there's a horse, there's a human, and you're not like just two separate beings when you're together,

whether you're on the ground or whether you're in the saddle, when you're with your horse, you become a horse human system, thus H squared. Right. And what I love about it is you seem to become more than just the sum of your parts, right? It's an exponential thing. That's why I like to call it age squared. And it's just such an empowering place to be,

to think of it that way, because they have done studies with this, with neuroscientists that look at images of the brain and all kinds of neural firing that goes on in there. And they know that we have like body maps in our brain that we have, like, we know where our feet are. We know where our hands are, all the different body parts.

But if you're skilled in something that requires a piece of equipment, for example, if you're a golfer and you've done a lot of golfing and that's, you know, something you're a skilled at the golf club is also represented in your brain. Okay. And that's true of a tennis racket or whatever else you may be doing. And I'm sure with tools as well,

if you're a skilled person that uses tools, right? It's like your body knows your brain knows where that tool is in space. It knows how it sort of like it senses it. Well, it's the same thing for us as horse people. It's like our, our horses become an extension of us. So when you're riding your horse, right, you,

you have a sense where each Huff is, for example, where each of your horses feet are, and you can get a sense of when you really tune in to the degree of tension in the neck and the back and the hind legs. So it's not only that you can just literally feel the movement, of course, but it's like, you feel it in such a way that it's like,

it's part of you, at least then is the goal. Okay. And that is what I always found. Fascinating. And I've been paying attention to this since I was, I would say definitely as a teenager, because I remember being very tuned into the shifting of my horses, rib cage, as each hind leg would advance and like really feeling that and being able to know,

because I really wanted to know without looking without anything like that, where each Huff was like, in other words, like to, to predict, for example, from a halt to a walk, how was my horse going to step forward? Was it going to be, you know, what, what hook would start? What leg would start the movement.

Okay. I know maybe I was a strange kid, but I was always really focused on details like that. Okay. So, and why is this important? This is important because to ride well, to lead well, to do anything with your horse. Well, and I do a lot of stuff with my horse on the ground without a halter and lead.

So there is no physical connection, but to do any of this well, right, requires that you've have that feeling, that your horse is an extension of you, that, that your horses is embodied, you know, is the images in your brain, okay. That body map is in your brain. And I like to think that your in your horses brain,

so think of it this way. Think of it this way. So we, we know about it. You know, our brains are like the, you know, the head control of our, of our bodies and all that kind of stuff. Well, they've found, you know, over the years that it's not just about the brain sending signals to the rest of your body,

but your body sends signals to your brain. So for example, your heart, your heart sends a tremendous amount of information to your brain, as well as your brain sends to your heart. The same is true with your gut. Yes. The brain sends a lot of information to the gut to control all the different things that go on down there, but your gut sends a lot of information to the brain as well.

So when you think about how, when you're with your horse, so let's say riding your horse, you're riding your horse and you're giving a lot of information to your horse. Sometimes we don't even realize how much information we're giving to our horse, because sometimes we're, we're not aware of ourselves to the degree that our horses are aware of us. Maybe our weight is off to one side,

right? Maybe one leg is drawn up. Maybe our shoulders are tensing, and that's creating contact with our horse at our, that we don't even realize, right. That a horse is feeling all of this. So, but we are, we know that there are many times we're giving information to our horse. We're sending signals to our horse conscious signals,

okay. Whether it's our leg AEs or weight aids, you know, our rain AEs, whatever it is, you know, the way we're using our seat, whatever, but also think about how your horse is sending you signals back up. And th it's this ability to take them in to process that right, and respond accordingly. Is that what makes you a good horse person,

efficient, compassionate, you Maine skillful horse person. So this is super important. So I remember so, so I do something called the Feldenkrais Method. I'm, I'm a very long time Feldenkrais teacher. I, before the pandemic, I taught all over the place internationally and all that good stuff, you know, specifically for riders also for, with dogs and cats too,

by the way. But I do work a lot with horses in humans. And, but years ago, before I started the Feldenkrais Method, I had a very unbalanced seat theory, unbalanced. I was just like the poster child for being crooked. Although if you saw me on a horse, I didn't look that crooked, but, but my weight was very unbalanced on my horses,

poor horses, right? So once I discovered the Feldenkrais Method that changed unbelievably, unbelievably, where nothing else did, it also took away my hip pain, my back pain, my neck pain, my carpal tunnel syndrome, all that stuff. Amazing, amazing. And this is again what I teach people, but one of the things that made a huge difference for me was a particular Feldenkrais lesson that I did,

which I teach in my program, move with your horse, by the way, after I did it, I felt such a change in my body that I knew I was going to ride differently. So this is several decades ago. And I remember I got on my horse and suddenly I could ha I had such feel because I could move my pelvis so easily.

Something then had been difficult for me before. I mean, I didn't even realize it was so difficult until I got this huge improvement. Okay. And this is the really cool thing. So I was, I was doing dressage and I was asking my horse for specific movements. And there was a specific movement that my horse found really difficult. There were several that were,

that were somewhat challenging. One in particular was very difficult and, you know, I'd be trying to help him with it and all that. But once I, I got this and again, thanks to the phone and Christ method immediately, my horse was able to do that. And he did it brilliantly. It was so phenomenal. So of course the problem wasn't in my horse,

the problem was with me because I wasn't able to provide my horse with the clarity and the support he needed to know, and to physically be able to do what I was asking. So this is what I found to be so important. So having this ability to have the, the awareness, the coordination, the balance to move your pelvis and all of these ways and all the other body parts as well,

of course, gives you the ability to support your wars and have the clarity of what you want to do to give the directions with clarity. Okay. So it's both support and clarity. You can't just sit on your horse and just sort of do, do you know, rain and leg aids. Like you want your horse to, you know, to do a lateral movement or a circle or whatever it is,

or go down the trailer or shift to your right a little bit, because something is approaching you, right? You can't just do it like as if you're disconnected from your horse, you have to be so connected to your horse, that your horse is part of you and your part of your horse. And together you do that movement. You, you,

you embody the movement. Okay. It's a game changer, a game changer. And I'm always so excited when people get this and in my move with your horse program, my students really get this and they get this because we do these Feldenkrais lessons, these gentle exercises, if you will, that are anyone can do regardless of age or physical condition or the type of riding you do,

or, or if you don't ride, but you work with, you know, you play with your horses on the ground, whatever it is, they can help. And not too long ago, one of my students and she's in her late sixties, and she was, we were doing, we had done a lesson for the humans, the Feldenkrais lesson.

Then I was teaching them hands-on work. That's based on the Feldenkrais Method, how they could help their horse. And I was so excited when she got this, she said, oh my gosh, I could feel the benefits from the Feldenkrais lesson, as I was doing the hands-on work with my horse. And I really got it. And I really felt that connection.

I was able to do it. I was able to have that feel right. And this is what I'm always after. This is what I want for you. I want you to have this ability to have your nervous system organize your brain, organized that it feels your horse as an extension of you. And that you're, you're so connected in this way.

And you embody it so much that your horse feels that your connection of him or her as well. And there's this give and take you, yes, you give support and direction to your horse, but your horse gives support and direction to you. And you have this beautiful exchange. That just feels so good that, that blissful connection isn't that why we're with horses,

right? Isn't that why we spend time with horses because the connection feels so good. You know, they talk about moving as one with your horse, right? So I call my program, move with your horse. It's disability, it's, it's physical. And it's also emotional. It's this deep connection. Again, it's embodied. It's not just theoretical.

It's not just a physical thing. It's embodied, it's embodied connection. And that's what I want for you. So think about that. So the next time you're with your horse. So even if you're on the ground, so if you're riding, of course, you know, you're feeling the movements of your horse, but if you're on the ground, say you have a halter and a lead you're,

you're leading your horse. What is the connection point? Like, how do you feel connected to your horse? So as you're walking with your horse, right, maybe you're at your horses, head or shoulder, can you feel their hind legs? Do you have a sense of where the tail is and start to open yourself to the possibility that you can expand your senses in such a way that you can take all this input in and you can move more freely with your horse and you can communicate much more freely as well.

Okay. And even when I'm on the ground, I'm thinking about my body again, we're going to go back to this idea of the pelvis moving so well. If I am on the ground with my horse, again, whether I have a lead rope on my horse, or if we're at Liberty to say, I want to do a circle, I walk that circle.

Like I think about my pelvis. And I think about the points on the circle. Okay. And I have that, you know, because I've been doing the Feldenkrais work so long, right. I have this ability to really feel as I'm walking, that I'm making the circle. Okay. And then my horse comes along and I think about my horses,

body making the circle. I think of all the things that relate. I think about how my pelvis relates to the horse's pelvis, walking on the circle. Okay. Right. The rib cage, the neck, the, all the legs, all the pieces.

Right. And of course, when you're riding, you think about the movement you're doing, you embody it.

Whether it's a circle, whether it's a lateral movement, you know, whatever it is, a transition, you know, a canter depart, how are you embodying that? What are you doing with your body? And matter of fact, not too long ago, one of my students in the move with your horse program mentioned about how from doing the Feldenkrais work,

her canter departs got so much better because she could suddenly move her pelvis in this new way and have that balance and coordination. So not coincidentally we're opening our doors to move with your horse for a new cohort starts in mid April, April 18th, to be exact, but we close our doors before then few days before then. So if you want information, please go to Marydebono.com/joinhorse. Okay. Marydebono.com/joinhorse. That's all one word, no hyphens, all lowercase, you know, and you'd be good to go. Also the, in the show notes, this is episode 21. There'll be a link in there. So that should also be in, if you're listening to this on the podcast,

you'll see a link in there as well. But any questions, email me, [email protected]. So thank you so much For here. And just remember, you want to think of your horse as part of you and you as part of your horse, one beautiful connected system, the age squared system. And again, I thank you so much for being here and I look forward to sharing more with you again.

Bye. For now.